One- Parent Family Payment

The One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is a means-tested payment available to women and men under the age of 66 who are the main carers of their children, or are raising their child or children without the support of a partner.

The payment is made by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), formerly the Department of Social Welfare.

You can be in employment and receive OFP, if you meet the criteria.

You can earn a certain amount without it affecting the payment (currently €165 weekly gross). If you earn over that amount you can receive a reduced payment up to a set limit.

To qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must:

  • Be aged under 66;
  • Be a parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child;
  • Have a child aged 7 years or younger (there are exceptions, see below);
  • Be the main carer of the child, and they must live with you (Important – OFP is not payable if the parents have joint equal custody of the child);
  • Satisfy a means test, and
  • Be habitually resident in Ireland.

You will not qualify if:

  • You are living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
  • Your earnings exceed €425 per week (gross pay).
  •  If you were living with a partner, are not married, and the relationship ends, then you can apply for the payment once you are living apart. If you are married or in a civil partnership and the relationships ends you are required to:
  • Be living separately from your spouse or civil partner for a minimum of 3 months, and
  • Have made genuine efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or civil partner.
  • Where you are not married to the other parent of your child it is not a requirement to seek maintenance from them in order to apply for the OFP. However, once the payment has been awarded, you must seek maintenance from the other parent in order to continue to be eligible. The staff of the Department will talk with you about this. There are special provisions in cases of domestic abuse – see below.
When your youngest child turns 7

You will stop getting One-Parent Family Payment when your youngest child turns 7, but there are some exceptions to this:

  • Domiciliary Care Allowance : your One-Parent Family Payment may continue until the child you are getting the Domiciliary Care Allowance for is 16 or your youngest child turns 7 – whichever is later.
  • Blind Pension : your One-Parent Family Payment may continue until your youngest child is 16.
  • Carer’s Allowance : your One-Parent Family Payment may continue until your youngest child is 16, or until your Carer’s Allowance stops, whichever is earlier.
  • Recent Bereavement: if your spouse or civil partner has died, you can claim One-Parent Family Payment for up to two years after the death or until your youngest child turns 18, whichever is earlier.

Your local DEASP or INTREO office would be able to tell you if any of these apply in yourcase.

When your youngest child turns 7, you will have to apply for a new payment as your OFP payment will come to an end.

If you are not in employment, then you can apply for the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST). This is a payment for lone parents whose youngest child is between 7 and 13 years.

Here is a full description: Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment.

One-Parent Family Payment and employment

You can be in employment and receive the One-Parent Family Payment. The rate of payment will be based on your weekly means from your earnings. There is an income disregard for the first €165 of your gross weekly earnings. This means you can earn up to €165 a week and may still qualify for the full OFP. Half of the remaining amount of your gross weekly earnings, up to €425 per week, is assessed as means.

If you earn between €165 and €425 you could be eligible for a part payment of OFP. Above €425 you will not be eligible for the payment.

One-Parent Family Payment and maintenance

Maintenance paid by the other parent of your child or children is assessed as means. If you receive maintenance for yourself and your children, then both are taken into account. If you are receiving maintenance from more than one person, the total of these payments will be considered in the assessment. Half of all maintenance received is taken into account in assessing the rate of your OFP payment.

Ninety-five euro and 53 cent (€95.23) of maintenance received (per week) can be offset against your housing costs such as rent or mortgage repayment, if you have such costs. Half of the remainder will then be assessed as means. Proof of rent and mortgage payments will be requested.

If you are working and receiving maintenance then the incomes are assessed separately, as above and then the means from each are added together to determine the rate of OFP.

Domestic violence, OFP, and seeking maintenance

Where there has been domestic violence and abuse in a relationship it may not be safe for a person to seek maintenance, if they are worried that to do so would risk further threats or violence. If you are applying for OFP because you have left an abusive relationship, or if the parent of your child or children has been, or is being, abusive or violent to you, then it is really important that you disclose this abuse or any concerns you have about your safety and that of your children, to the staff at the DEASP.

Part of the application process usually involves a visit to your home or an appointment with a Social Welfare Inspector and this is an opportunity to share your concerns.